Chesapeake Appalachia settles federal water pollution charges

A Chesapeake Energy Corp. subsidiary agreed to spend $6.5 million to restore 27 sites damaged by unauthorized discharges of fill material into streams and wetlands at its West Virginia natural gas production sites to settle charges that it violated the Clean Water Act, the US Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency jointly announced on Dec. 19.

They said Chesapeake Appalachia LLC also agreed under the settlement to implement a comprehensive plan to comply with federal and state water protection laws, and to pay a $3.2 million civil fine. That amount is one of the largest ever imposed for violating the CWA’s Section 404 program, which prohibits the filling or damming of wetlands, rivers, streams, and other US waters without a federal permit.

The federal government and West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) alleged the company impounded streams and discharged sand, dirt, rocks and other fill material into streams and wetlands without a federal permit in order to construct well pads, impoundments, road crossings and other facilities related to gas extraction.

A Chesapeake Energy spokesman said the settlement represents a key milestone in resolving federal and state claims relating to surface construction activities which occurred in West Virginia before November 2010. “The company is fully committed to regulatory compliance and is working with EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers, and WVDEP to restore the impacted sites,” he said in a Dec. 19 e-mail.

The alleged violations occurred at 27 sites, including 16 which involved hydraulic fracturing, and involved about 12,000 linear ft of stream, or about 2.2 miles, and more than three acres of wetlands, DOJ and EPA jointly said.

Specific requirements

They said Chesapeake Appalachia will be required to fully restore the wetlands and streams wherever feasible, monitor the restored sites for up to 10 years to assure the restoration’s success, and implement a comprehensive compliance program to ensure future compliance with the CWA and applicable state law.

To offset the impacts to sites that cannot be restored, the company will perform compensatory mitigation, which will likely involve purchasing credits from a wetland mitigation bank located in a local watershed, the two federal entities said.

EPA said it discovered some of the violations through information provided by the public and routine inspections. Chesapeake Appalachia also voluntarily disclosed potential violations at 19 of the sites following an internal audit. EPA issued administrative compliance orders for violations at 11 sites in 2010 and 2011. Since that time, the company has been correcting the violations and restoring those sites in full compliance with EPA’s orders, the agency said.

The settlement also resolves alleged violations of state law brought by WVDEP, the two federal entities said. The state is a co-plaintiff in the settlement and will receive half of the civil penalty, they said.

A consent decree, which was lodged Dec. 19 in US District Court for West Virginia’s Northern District, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

Related Articles

BG’s 2015 budget ‘significantly lower than 2014’

02/03/2015 BG Group plans capital expenditures on a cash basis of $6-7 billion in 2015, a range it says is “significantly lower than 2014” due to “a lower oil...

BP trims capital budget by $4-6 billion

02/03/2015 BP PLC plans an organic capital expenditure of $20 billion in 2015, down from the previous guidance $24-26 billion. Total organic capital expenditu...

EPA suggests DOS reconsider Keystone XL climate impact conclusions

02/03/2015 The US Department of State might want to reconsider its conclusions regarding potential climate impacts from the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pip...

IHS sees second-half end of US output surge

02/03/2015

Expectations are moderating about growth of oil production in the US this year.

Anadarko reports 2014 loss, remains upbeat about Wattenberg

02/03/2015 Anadarko Petroleum Corp. announced a 2014 net loss of $1.75 billion, or $3.47/share diluted, including a net loss of $4.05 billion associated with ...

CNOOC cuts capital budget, starts production from Jinzhou 9-3

02/03/2015 CNOOC Ltd. is slashing its capital budget for 2015 by 26-35% to $11.25-12.86 billion compared with last year’s budget. Capital expenditures for exp...

Seven Group buys into Beach Energy

02/03/2015 Media group Seven Group Holdings, Perth, has bought 13.8% of Adelaide-based Beach Energy Ltd. through share purchases fuelling speculation of a pos...

Karve joins Cobalt for Cameia development

02/03/2015 Shashank V. Karve has joined Cobalt International Energy Inc. as executive vice-president in charge of development of deepwater Cameia oil field on...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil stays positive on lower rig count

02/03/2015 Oil prices on the New York and London markets closed higher Feb. 2 on positive momentum generated by a falling US rig count, suggesting cuts in pro...
White Papers

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...
Available Webcasts


Prevention, Detection and Mitigation of pipeline leaks in the modern world

When Thu, Apr 30, 2015

Preventing, detecting and mitigating leaks or commodity releases from pipelines are a top priority for all pipeline companies. This presentation will look at various aspects related to preventing, detecting and mitigating pipeline commodity releases from a generic and conceptual point of view, while at the same time look at the variety of offerings available from Schneider Electric to meet some of the requirements associated with pipeline integrity management. 

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Global LNG: Adjusting to New Realities

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s March 20, 2015, webcast will look at how global LNG trade will be affected over the next 12-24 months by falling crude oil prices and changing patterns and pressures of demand. Will US LNG production play a role in balancing markets? Or will it add to a growing global oversupply of LNG for markets remote from easier natural gas supply? Will new buyers with marginal credit, smaller requirements, or great need for flexibility begin to look attractive to suppliers? How will high-cost, mega-projects in Australia respond to new construction cost trends?

register:WEBCAST


US Midstream at a Crossroads

Fri, Mar 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Mar. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on US midstream companies at an inflection point in their development in response to more than 6 years shale oil and gas production growth. Major infrastructure—gas plants, gathering systems, and takeaway pipelines—have been built. Major fractionation hubs have expanded. Given the radically changed pricing environment since mid-2014, where do processors go from here? What is the fate of large projects caught in mid-development? How to producers and processors cooperate to ensure a sustainable and profitable future? This event will serve to set the discussion table for the annual GPA Convention in San Antonio, Apr. 13-16, 2015.

This event is sponsored by Leidos Engineering.

register:WEBCAST


The Future of US Refining

Fri, Feb 6, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s Feb. 6, 2015, webcast will focus on the future of US refining as various forces this year conspire to pull the industry in different directions. Lower oil prices generally reduce feedstock costs, but they have also lowered refiners’ returns, as 2015 begins with refined products priced at lows not seen in years. If lower per-barrel crude prices dampen production of lighter crudes among shale plays, what will happen to refiners’ plans to export more barrels of lighter crudes? And as always, refiners will be affected by government regulations, particularly those that suppress demand, increase costs, or limit access to markets or supply.

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected